Daniel Collins - Alliance for Justice (2024)

On November
13, 2018, President Trump nominated Daniel P. Collins to the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals for the seat previously held by Judge Harry Pregerson. The Senate did not act on
Collins’s nomination before the end of the Congress, and on January 3, 2019,
Collins’s nomination was returned to the President. On February 6, 2019,
President Trump renominated Collins.

Collins’s record offers no evidence that if he is elevated to the federal bench, he could act as a fair-minded and neutral arbiter. His record shows that he has fought to undermine civil liberties, weaken women’s reproductive rights, and criticized important Supreme Court decisions necessary for a just criminal justice system. Moreover, he has carved out a career as the go-to lawyer for a host of entities accused of discrimination, egregious human rights violations, and endangering the health and safety of persons in the U.S. and abroad.

Daniel Collins - Alliance for Justice (1)

Read more on Collins’s background.

Collins’s Confirmation Further Erodes Ninth Circuit

On November
13, 2018, President Trump nominated Daniel P. Collins to the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals for the seat previously held by Judge Harry Pregerson. The Senate did not act on
Collins’s nomination before the end of the Congress, and on January 3, 2019,
Collins’s nomination was returned to the President. On February 6, 2019,
President Trump renominated Collins.

record offers no evidence that if he is elevated to the federal bench, he could
act as a fair-minded and neutral arbiter. His record shows that he has fought
to undermine civil liberties, weaken women’s reproductive rights, and
criticized important Supreme Court decisions necessary for a just criminal
justice system. Moreover, he has carved out a career as the go-to lawyer for a
host of entities accused of discrimination, egregious human rights violations,
and endangering the health and safety of persons in the U.S. and abroad.

nomination to the Ninth Circuit also comes in the wake of President Trump’s
repeated attacks on the independence of the circuit, and his stated desire to
obtain different rulings (see our report on fellow Ninth Circuit Trump nominee Kenneth Lee for more information). It is clear that
Trump brings an agenda to any nomination he makes to the circuit: the selection
of a reliable ideologue. Therefore, the White House has pointedly avoided
meaningful consultation with either of Collins’s home-state senators, Dianne
Feinstein and Kamala Harris – and neither senator has returned her blue slip on
his nomination. Moreover, both senators have criticized Collins’s record. As
Senator Feinstein wrote, “I repeatedly told the White House I wanted to reach an
agreement on a package of 9th Circuit nominees, but…the White
House moved forward without consulting me, picking controversial candidates
from its initial list.”

Feinstein and Harris have voiced significant concerns about Collins’s ability
to serve as a neutral arbiter. They noted in a January 2018 statement that:

[We] also told the White House that we could not support Daniel Collins because concerns about his temperament and rigidity were raised during his vetting. In particular, we were told that Mr. Collins has a history of taking strong litigation positions for no reason other than attempting to overturn precedent and push legal boundaries. This should be a concern to all senators—it should not be a partisan issue. Consistency and stability are vital in the law [emphasis added].

Once again, it
is clear that the White House is seeking extreme partisans and
ultraconservatives for Ninth Circuit seats, and Collins’s record strongly
suggests that he meets those requirements.

AFJ strongly
opposes his nomination.


currently a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, earned his A.B. from Harvard College in 1985 and J.D. from Stanford
Law School in 1988. He was a law clerk to Judge Dorothy W. Nelson on the Ninth
Circuit from 1988–1989 and then clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia on the
Supreme Court from 1991–1992. Between clerkships, he worked as an attorney advisor
in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. From 1992–1996 he served
as an assistant United States attorney in the Central District of California,
followed by working as associate deputy attorney general at the United States
Department of Justice from 2001–2003.

As associate deputy
attorney general, Collins coordinated several major legislative policy
initiatives, but one stands out: his contribution to what ultimately became the
Bush Administration’s U.S. attorneys firing scandal. Collins designed the effort to give “the [Bush] administration
unprecedented powers to replace ousted U.S. Attorneys.” Previously, if a new
U.S. attorney had not been confirmed by the Senate within 120 days, the
district court could appoint an interim U.S. attorney. Collins proposed,
however, to allow the attorney general to appoint interim federal prosecutors indefinitely,
without Senate confirmation.

Ultimately, the
Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs,
William Moschella, working with Senate Judiciary Committee staffer Brett
Tolman, “slipped” the “Daniel Collins Special” (as Moschella titled an e-mail on the
provision), into the 2006 USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization. The new “secretly passedlanguage allowed the attorney general to appoint
interim U.S. attorneys for the remainder of President Bush’s term without Senate

Senator Arlen Specter noted that the evidence suggested there was “a calculation” on the part of Justice Department officials “to utilize this new provision to avoid confirmation by the Senate and to avoid scrutiny by the Senate and to avoid having Senators participate in the selection of replacement U.S. Attorneys.” In fact, Kyle Sampson, then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, sent an e-mail to a White House lawyer about using Collins’s provision to replace the existing U.S. attorney from Arkansas with Timothy Griffin, a former Bush campaign operative and protégé of Karl Rove. Sampson wondered in the e-mail whether Griffin’s was the best case in which to “test drive” this authority, asking at the same time “if we don’t ever exercise it then what’s the point of having it?” Sampson admitted before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he proposed to “run out the clock” and “never have these replacement U.S. Attorneys submitted to the Senate for confirmation.”

After Collins’s
change was enacted, seven U.S. Attorneys were fired. As Senator Feinstein noted:

For over 150 years, the process of appointing interim U.S. Attorneys has worked well, with virtually no problems. Now, just 1 year after receiving unchecked authority in a little known section added to the Patriot Act last spring, the administration has significantly abused its discretion.

investigations by the House, Senate and Department of Justice, the Senate
Judiciary Committee wrote the evidence
indicated “grave threats to the independence of law enforcement from political
manipulation.” The Committee emphasized that:

The evidence shows that senior officials were focused on the political impact of Federal prosecutions and whether Federal prosecutors were doing enough to bring partisan voter fraud and corruption cases. It is now apparent that the reasons given for these firings, including those reasons provided in sworn testimony by the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, were contrived as part of a cover-up.

Collins, in
press reports, said his intent in pushing for the provision was to address
separation-of-powers issues and concerns about judges having the power to name
interim U.S. attorneys. As Senator Charles Schumer noted, however, “[t]he evidence we’ve gotten seems to indicate
the Patriot Act wasn’t changed for the purposes that they first announced . . .
but rather to make it easier to get rid of U.S. attorneys and appoint their own
people without Senate confirmation.”

Like most Trump judicial
nominees, Collins is a member of the Federalist Society, an outside group to
which Trump has delegated important aspects of the judicial nomination process.
He joined in 1995 and has been a member since then.

Power And Civil Liberties

Throughout his
career, Collins has demonstrated troubling views on executive power and civil
liberties. This raises serious doubts as to whether he will be an independent
check on the President, particularly in the national security realm.

Patriot Act, Surveillance, And Privacy

serving as associate deputy attorney general during the George W. Bush Administration,
Collins was actively involved in drafting portions of, implementing, and
defending the Patriot Act. Notably, Collins supported two of the most controversial sections
of the Patriot Act: Section 215 (the “bulk collection” provision which the
office of Senator Mike Lee said allowed the “government’s dragnet collection of Americans’
data”) and Section 213 (known as the “sneak and peek” provision, which “authorizes delayed notice of criminal search
warrants,” expanding the ability to search private property without notice to
an owner).

supported Section 215, stating it is “designed to ensure that a tool
available to assist law enforcement in ordinary criminal investigations will
have an appropriate counterpart in foreign intelligence investigations.” Collins
also defended Section 213, testifying that the provision “codifies
long-standing authority to delay notification of the execution of a warrant . .
. with proper safeguards.”

The Justice
Department named Collins as the “Privacy Czar” in 2002. His appointment raised
many concerns, as Collins had previously been “a key
player in drafting the language in [the Patriot Act] that dictates how law
enforcement can use the software program, known as Carnivore, that can reveal
where an e-mail has been sent, its header, and contents.”

The ACLU described the Carnivore program as being “roughly
equivalent to a wiretap capable of accessing the contents of the conversations
of all of the phone company’s customers, with the ‘assurance’ that the FBI will
record only conversations of the specified target.” They explained:

[U]nlike the operation of a traditional a [sic] pen register, trap and trace device, or wiretap of a conventional phone line, Carnivore gives the FBI access to all traffic over the ISP’s network, not just the communications to or from a particular target. Carnivore, which is capable of analyzing millions of messages per second, purportedly retains only the messages of the specified target, although this process takes place without scrutiny of either the ISP or a court.

Hamdan V. Rumsfeld

Collins filed an
amicus brief on behalf of Citizens for Common Defence
in support of the government in Hamdan
v. Rumsfeld
, 126 S.
Ct. 2749 (2006). Hamdan involved the
question of what kind of legal process that detainees at Guantanamo Bay were
due: whether a military tribunal at Guantanamo that omitted certain protections
was sufficient process for a prisoner under U.S. and international law. The
Supreme Court held that the military tribunal at issue provided insufficient
process, and therefore was illegal.

In its brief, theorganization describesitself as“an association that advocates a
conception of robust Executive Branch authority to meet the national security
threats that confront the nationin its war against international
terrorists.” The group emphasizesthat“vigorous Executive power
necessary to defend our nationagainst foreign enemies was seen by the
Framers as a vital precondition to securing those blessings and an integral
part of the same libertarian enterprise.”

Membersof Citizens for the Common
DefenseincludeRobert Bork,JohnYoo, Steven Bradbury,
Bradford Berenson, and KrisKobach.

Moreover, when
commenting on the Hamdan case,
Collins opposed extending protections outlined by the Geneva Conventions to combatants whose affiliated groups did
not sign on to international human rights treaties (such as the Taliban and al
Qaeda). He argued that recognizing such rights would be fruitless as “[i]t
would discourage combatants from complying with the laws of war if they could
claim its protections without having to obey its obligation.” As the Supreme
Court ruled in Hamdan,
non-state actors are entitled to protections of the Geneva Conventions,
specifically Common Article 3.Collins, in contrast, opposed extending these
basic protections.


Health Care

Collins fought
to make it harder for women to obtain contraceptives, filing an amicus brief in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014), arguing that corporations
could deny contraceptive coverage as part of employer-sponsored health
insurance plans. He filed this brief on behalf of the Ethics
and Public Policy Center

Collins also
authored an amicus brief on behalf of the Ethics and Public
Policy Center in Zubik v. Burwell, 136 S. Ct. 1557 (2016), supporting
religious nonprofits’ challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive
mandate. In the brief, Collins argued that “provid[ing] seamless coverage of
contraceptive services for women” and “provid[ing] cost-free contraceptive
coverage” are not “compelling governmental interests.”

In Greater Balt. Ctr. for Pregnancy
Concerns v. Mayor of Balt.
879 F.3d 101 (4th Cir. 2018), Collins filed an amicus brief challenging a Baltimore City ordinance
that required pregnancy clinics that do not offer or provide referrals for
abortion care to post disclosure signs in their waiting areas. The ordinance
was an attempt to reduce the deceptive practices employed by fake women’s
health centers, but was struck down as violative of the First Amendment.

Violence Against Women

Collins argued in defense of
Internet Brands, Inc. against negligence claims after a woman utilizing
Internet Brands’ model networking website was lured into a fake audition and
sexually assaulted. The corporation allegedly knew about the rapists’ use of
the website but did not warn users.

Criminal Justice

In his academic
writings and legal advocacy, Collins has promoted policy positions and argued
for legal outcomes that would increase mass incarceration and disproportionately
impact people of color in the criminal justice system.

Criminal Sentencing

While working in
the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, Collins defended Attorney General John Ashcroft’s controversial policy that undermined prosecutorial discretion. The policy required
prosecutors to pursue the maximum charges and sentences against criminal
defendants and minimized the ability of local U.S. attorneys to offer plea
bargains for lesser sentences.

Miranda Rights

Collins has advocated
for eliminating Miranda warnings, which require police to give certain warnings
before interrogating a suspect. In Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000), Collins submitted
an amicus brief arguing that Congress had the ability
to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda:
“there is simply no basis for concluding that an unyielding, inflexible exclusionary
rule is an indispensable element of a constitutionally adequate prophylactic
regime.” The Supreme Court disagreed, in an opinion by Chief Justice William
Rehnquist, holding that Miranda announced a constitutional
rule that cannot be overruled by Congress.

With regard to Miranda, Collins also wrote a book
review, entitled “Farewell Miranda?,”
that reveals Collins’s own skepticism toward the constitutional requirement.
While critiquing one of the author’s points, Collins explained, “[i]f the price
of correcting Miranda’s error is accepting an even greater and more harmful
one, then that price is too high” [emphasis added]. His review suggests he
agrees with the book’s argument for overruling Miranda.

Jury Selection

Collins expressed
dissatisfaction with attempts to diversify jury pools. In an article entitled
“Making Juries Better Factfinders,” Collins questioned the wisdom of Batson
v. Kentucky
, 476
U.S. 79 (1986), a seminal decision that ruled prosecutors cannot dismiss jurors
(using peremptory challenges) based solely on their race. He wrote:

A further structural issue concerns the use of peremptory challenges. I have come reluctantly, but firmly, to the view that they should be all but abolished; each side should be permitted only one or two peremptories at most. Batson v. Kentucky and its progeny have created so much satellite litigation about peremptories that I no longer think the option is worth retaining. Criminal defendants routinely object to almost every strike of a juror who is a member of a racial minority, regardless of Batson’s requirement of a prima facie showing. Judges all too often incorrectly sustain these challenges. . .there is an enormous practical incentive to rule against the government on these sorts of questions.

In essence,
Collins argued that Batson and its
progeny unnecessarily complicated the jury selection process. His analysis further
ignored that racial discrimination is still a significant problem in the jury
selection process, and he fails to affirm the principle that juries must be
selected without undue bias or discrimination.

Police Accountability

submitted an amicus brief in Los
Angeles v. Mendez
137 S.Ct. 1539 (2017), arguing that police officers who shot a couple, leading
to amputation of one person’s leg, should not be held liable for excessive
force. Searching for a felon, two deputy sheriffs had entered a shack inhabited
by the Mendezes without a search warrant or announcing their presence. Angel
Mendez stood and moved his BB gun when he heard someone entering. Upon seeing
the BB gun in Mendez’s hand, the deputies opened fire, firing a total of 15

Despite the police officers’ violation of the Fourth Amendment, Collins argued they should not be held personally liable for severely injuring the Mendezes. Arguing for the injured couple, the NAACP wrote, “[p]eople of color will be among those to most acutely feel the effect of any decision that retreats from the Court’s traditional totality of circ*mstances analysis, particularly in the context of facts like these.” Ultimately, the Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling in favor of the officers.

also authored an amicus brief in Chicago
v. Morales
, 527
U.S. 41 (1999), defending the city of Chicago’s wide-ranging loitering
ordinance. The ordinance purportedly targeted street gangs, but in effect
offered a free pass to Chicago police to conduct “street sweeps,” which led to 45,000 arrests. Those arrested were mostly
African-American and Hispanic, and were not gang members. The Supreme Court
struck down the ordinance as unconstitutionally vague.


is defending Wells Fargo’s racially discriminatory lending practices, which
allegedly led to high rates of foreclosures for families of color as well as
deepened racial segregation within the city.

city of Oakland is suing Wells Fargo for engaging in what is called modern-day
redlining. Banks’ racially discriminatory lending practices have not only
increased housing segregation and divested wealth from communities of color,
they have also entrenched generational poverty. Joining the city
of Oakland as amici in the suit are civil rights groups such as the National
Fair Housing Alliance, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and
the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.

The suit is
currently pending in the Northern District of California. In Cityof Oakland v. Wells Fargo Bank,
2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100915 (N.D. Cal. 2018), the court denied Collins’s
argument for dismissal of the city of Oakland’s lawsuit.


Collins’s record
demonstrates his hostility to the protection of human rights.

The Alien Tort
Statute (ATS) provides jurisdiction in U.S. courts for foreign nationals in “all
causes where an alien sues for a tort only in violation of the law of nation or
of a treaty of the United States.” A lawsuit brought under ATS “can proceed for any harm resulting from a violation of
international law, no matter where the harm occurred, or whoinflicted the
harm, as long as the plaintiff serves process in U.S. Territory.”

Collins has
repeatedly defended the interests of corporations that were sued under the ATS
for alleged human rights violations. For example, Collins defended food producer Archer Daniels Midland in
JohnDoe I, et al. v. Nestle USA, et al., 766 F.3d 1013 (9th Cir. 2014). The case involved victims
of child slavery who alleged that the defendant corporations were responsible
for aiding and abetting child slavery on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast. The Ninth
Circuit took notice of the widespread documentation of human rights abuses and
child slavery in Ivory Coast, and how child slaves like the plaintiffs “were
forced to work on Ivorian cocoa plantations for up to fourteen hours per day
six days a week, given only scraps of food to eat, and whipped and beaten by

The Ninth
Circuit explained how defendants, as the corporations “largely in charge of the
work of buying and selling cocoa,” and as importers of “most of the Ivory
Coast’s cocoa harvest into the United states,” were “well aware of the child
slavery problem in the Ivory Coast.” Moreover, the court noted how the
companies controlled most of the cocoa exports in the country and “acquired
this knowledge [of child slavery] firsthand through their numerous visits to
Ivorian farms” and through “many reports issued by domestic and international
organizations.” Further, the court explained how:

Despite their knowledge of child slavery and their control over the cocoa market, the defendants operate in the Ivory Coast “with the unilateral goal of finding the cheapest sources of cocoa.” The defendants continue to supply money, equipment, and training to Ivorian farmers, knowing that these provisions will facilitate the use of forced child labor. The defendants have also lobbied against congressional efforts to curb the use of child slave labor.

In his petition
to the Supreme Court, Collins argued against the Ninth Circuit’s conclusion that the complaint
was proper. The court found “the complaint allege[d] that the defendants obtained a
direct benefit from the commission of the violation of international law, which
bolsters the allegation that defendants acted with the purpose to support child
slavery.” In response Collins argued “[t]he Ninth Circuit panel majority pointed to no allegation
here of an unlawful purpose on petitioners’part [emphasis in
original].” He also called the majority’s finding a “faulty conclusion” [emphasis added], claiming it meant the
“standard is satisfied whenever a defendant acts with the purpose of maximizing
profit – here, seeking to purchase inexpensive cocoa – coupled with the
knowledge that third parties may be
engaged in human-rights violations that might contribute to achieving the
profit-maximizing goal
” [emphasis added].

In the year
before John Doe I, Collins wrote an amicus brief on behalf of former State Department
legal advisors and in support of the corporate defendants in Kiobel
v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. et al.
, 133 S. Ct. 1659 (2013). Petitioners alleged that, in
violation of the ATS, “certain Dutch, British, and Nigerian corporations. . .aided
and abetted the Nigerian Government in committing violations of the law of
nations in Nigeria.” The alleged violations included claims that – following
residents’ complaints of the effects of pesticides being used by the parent
company – “respondents enlisted the Nigerian Government to violently suppress
the burgeoning demonstrations.” These reprisals included “Nigerian military and
police forces attack[ing] [] villages, beating, raping, killing, and arresting
residents and destroying or looting property.”

Collins argued that the Supreme Court should categorically deny this case
due to its occurrence outside of the United States, and thereby “decline the
United States’ suggestion that such issues be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

Similarly, in Mujica
v. AirScan Inc.
771 F.3d 580 (9th Cir. 2014), Collins represented an American oil company, Occidental
Petroleum, against a claim brought under ATS and the Torture Victim Protection
Act (TVPA). Occidental and another oil company were being sued by Colombian
villagers for the corporations’ complicity in a 1998 bombing of their village
by members of the Colombian Airforce (CAF). The district court found that
“[d]efendants worked with the Colombian military, providing them with financial
and other assistance, for the purpose of furthering Defendant Occidental’s
commercial interests.” Occidental’s assistance included supplying a room in its
facilities to CAF to plan a raid on Santo Domingo “for the purpose of providing
security for Defendant Occidental (i.e. protecting its oil pipeline).”
Equipment and personnel, including a plane used in the attack, were paid for by

The bombing raid
resulted in CAF dropping cluster bombs on civilians in the village – civilians
who had covered their heads with white shirts to signal to the overhead planes
that they were not combatants. Further, after the attack, “CAF troops entered
the town, blocked civilians from leaving, and ransacked their homes.” In total,
25 civilians were injured and 17 were killed. Six of the dead were children.
After failing to find justice in Colombian courts, plaintiffs brought their claim
against the American companies in a U.S. court.

Collins defended
Occidental. He diminished the complicity of the oil company in
the bombing, claiming “[t]he only two specific acts by Occidental that
allegedly contributed to the raid were Occidental’s alleged provision of office
space to the CAF and of an airplane that was used by AirScan” and noting “[t]he
complaint does not allege that any Occidental personnel were present during the
planning or execution of the raid.”

The court held
for the oil companies based on international comity and political question
doctrine concerns. Foreign Policy summed up the court’s holding by explaining how “even though the plaintiffs allege
that Occidental helped fund and plan the Colombian military raid that killed
more than a dozen people, the company won’t be punished in U.S. courts because
the conspiracy didn’t take place in the United States.” In the end, the
Colombian villagers were left without justice for their injuries and their
murdered family members.

In addition,
Collins defended corporate defendant Jeppesen Dataplan,
Inc. in Mohamed
v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.
614 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2010). The case involved the Central Intelligence
Agency’s (CIA) Extraordinary Rendition Program, where plaintiffs contended that
the CIA:

working in concert with other government agencies and officials of foreign governments, operated an extraordinary rendition program to gather intelligence by apprehending foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and transferring them in secret to foreign countries for detention and interrogation by the United States or foreign officials.

argued “that publicly available information” showed how the defendant
corporation “provided flight planning and logistical support services to the
aircraft and crew on all of the flights transporting each of the five
plaintiffs among the various locations where they were detained and allegedly
subject to torture.” The alleged human rights abuses included abduction, forced
disappearances, detention without due process, and torture. Plaintiffs alleged
that they were “severely and repeatedly beaten,” kept without food or water,
exposed to loud and continuous noises, deprived of sleep, and brutally tortured
by barbaric methods (such as inflicting electric shock on sensitive body parts
and cutting the detainees’ skin followed by pouring hot liquids on the wounds).

The court
eventually dismissed the claim based on a state secrets doctrine.

Collins, in his
defense of Jeppesen, argued that the company’s “only purported connection to the
claimed abuse is the allegation that, from its San Jose, California office,
Jeppesen remotely provided commercial flight planning services (such as
procuring landing rights and filing flight plans) for the particular overseas
flights on which Plaintiffs were allegedly transported.” He argued that
plaintiffs’ claim amounted to only a “highly tenuous nature of Jeppesen’s
alleged connection.”

This “highly
tenuous” connection included how, based on publicly available documents,
“‘Jeppesen played an integral role in the forced’ abductions and detentions and
‘provided direct and substantial services to the United States for its
so-called ‘extraordinary rendition program.’”

Collins also fought a claim brought by Holocaust survivors against the Vatican
Bank and others, Alperin
v. Vatican Bank
410 F.3d 532 (2005). The survivors claimed that, during the Holocaust, the Vatican
Bank and its local affiliates “profited from the genocidal acts of the Croatian
Ustasha political regime . . . which was supported throughout World War II by
Nazi forces.” Moreover, the survivors alleged that the profits “passed through
the Vatican Bank in the form of proceedsfrom looted assets and slave
labor.” The claim sought damages under theories of “conversion, unjust
enrichment, restitution, the right to an accounting, and human rights
violations and violations of international law.”


Collins’s record
shows that he defends the interests of big oil and energy companies at the
expense of the deteriorating climate and Americans’ well-being.

For example, as
recently as 2018, Collins defended Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) in a global
warming case brought by the City of Oakland in Cityof Oakland v. BP P.L.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126258 (N.D. Cal. 2018). The city
sued four of the five largest oil corporations, including Shell, for their
contributions to global emissions. The court noted how:

Defendants have
allegedly long known the threat fossil fuels pose to the global climate.
Nonetheless, defendants continued to produce fossil fuels in large amounts
while engaging in widespread advertising and communications campaigns meant to
promote the sale of such fossil fuels. These campaigns portrayed fossil fuels
as environmentally responsible and essential to human well-being. These
campaigns also downplayed the risks of global warming by emphasizing the
uncertainties of climate science or attacking the credibility of climate

Moreover, data
used in the case showed that the five largest oil companies account for 11% of
all global emissions, and that Shell is individually responsible for 2.12% of
all global emissions. The court eventually dismissed the claims on personal
jurisdiction grounds.

Collins also defended Shell in a 2012 case brought by victims
of Hurricane Katrina, Comerv. Murphy Oil USA, Inc.,
839 F. Supp. 2d 849 (S.D. Miss. 2012).

In another 2012
case, Collins defended Shell in a suit brought by a Native
Alaskan village, Native
Vill. of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp.
, 696 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. 2012). The
village sued several leading oil and energy corporations, alleging that their
contributions to global warming amounted to a public nuisance that was
threatening the village’s very existence. The court warned that “[i]f the
village is not relocated, it may soon cease to exist.”

The court
dismissed the action, stating the Clean Air Act displaced federal common law
claims for public nuisance. However, the court sympathetically stated that
their “conclusion obviously does not aid Kivalina, which itself is being
displaced by the rising sea. But the solution to Kivalina’s dire circ*mstance
must rest in the hands of the legislative and executive branches of our
government, not the federal common law.”

Big Tobacco

As an attorney
for Big Tobacco, Collins fought health protections for consumers and helped
tobacco companies avoid liability for injuries inflicted on victims of
fraudulent advertising.

dedicated much of his career to fighting tobacco advertising restrictions—even
restrictions aimed at reducing advertisem*nt campaigns’ targeting of minors. In
Tobacco Co. v. Reilly
533 U.S. 525 (2001), Collins helped write the cigarette manufacturers’ brief, arguing that the Massachusetts regulations aiming to
prevent the exposure of children to tobacco advertising were “unabashedly

Utilizing the
precedent set by this case, Collins successfully defended the tobacco company Philip Morris
against a class action lawsuit alleging that the company directed marketing
studies to determine how best to induce children to begin smoking. The lawsuit
also alleged Philip Morris targeted children in advertising, campaigning near
schools and playgrounds.

Collins also sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the City of San
Francisco from enforcing an ordinance banning the sale of tobacco products in
many stores. His preliminary injunction was denied and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

In the 1990s,
Collins successfully prevented union trust funds from receiving
monetary damages from tobacco companies to assist in paying for union workers’
tobacco-induced health problems. He achieved a dismissal in Hawaii Health and Welfare Trust Fund v.
Philip Morris
, 52 F. Supp. 2d 1196 (D. Ha. 1999), insulating the tobacco
industry from liability in this case. In similar suits in California and across
the country, he continued to protect tobacco companies at the
expense of people who had been misled as to the health effects of smoking.


President Trump’s
own words and actions make it abundantly clear that he is eager to bring about
a dramatic change in the makeup of the Ninth Circuit. His selection of Daniel
Collins for a seat on the court indicates that the President and his advisors
have high confidence that Collins would be a reliably right-wing vote on the
court – and his record confirms that.

Throughout his
career, Daniel Collins has shown his dedication to defending the interests of
the wealthy and powerful at the expense of all Americans. He has been involved
in eroding constitutional rights. He has supported racially-biased practices in
the criminal justice system and in lending. He has worked to strip women of their
right to essential reproductive health care. He has represented big oil and
tobacco corporations at the expense of the health of Americans and the climate.
He has also defended atrocious human rights abuses committed by powerful

Collins’s nomination is being forced to proceed over the strong objections of
his two home-state senators. Based on these factors, we believe Daniel Collins
would bring a partisan agenda to the court at the expense of litigants who
would come before him, and that his nomination represents yet another
agenda-driven and cynical end-run around the normal nomination process.

For these reasons, AFJ strongly opposes his confirmation.

Daniel Collins - Alliance for Justice (2024)
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Introduction: My name is Pres. Carey Rath, I am a faithful, funny, vast, joyous, lively, brave, glamorous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.